Stanford Opens Series With 5-4 Win Over Texas

Austin Barr hit a game-winning, solo shot in the fourth inning. Photo courtesy Stanford Athletics

Austin Barr hit a game-winning, solo shot in the fourth inning. Photo courtesy Stanford Athletics

STANFORD, Calif. – As No. 12 Texas Longhorns’ designated hitter Taylor Stell’s (RJr.) soft-liner drifted into the glove of the Stanford Cardinal’s leaping, and a little crossed-up, second baseman Tommy Edman (So.) the night for the Longhorns ended in their third straight loss, falling to 8-5, by a score of 5-4.

This loss came in semi-poetic fashion as Stanford pitching stranded 14 Longhorns’ baserunners and left the bases loaded three times, including in the final frame as the Cardinal improved to 8-6 by outlasting the Longhorns to open their four-game series at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond on Thursday night.

The Cardinal jumped all over Texas starter Chad Hollingsworth (Jr., RHP) for five runs on six hits and three walks over five innings of work as the Longhorns’ righty suffered his first loss of the year to fall to 1-1.

Stanford’s early assault was led by freshman third baseman Mikey Diekroeger, who went 2-for-3 on the night. The freshman plated Stanford’s first run when he pounded a ground-rule double to right field scoring Alex Dunlap (So., LF) for the 1-0 second inning lead.

Then trailing 2-1 in the home half of the third, Diekroeger struck again, with a monster, three-run shot over the right field wall that gave the Cardinal a 4-2 lead. Junior Austin Barr (PH/DH) added what would turn out to be the game-winning run with a titanic blast, his first homer of the season, in the fourth that cleared the trees behind the left field wall to extend Stanford’s lead to 5-2.

Diekroeger, who hit his first collegiate dinger, was happy with the opening game win, “It sets us up great for the rest of the three games…hopefully we can get a couple more.”

Ben Johnson launched two homers and reached base four times in the loss. Photo courtesy Longhorns Athletics

However, the Longhorns wouldn’t surrender in game one without a fight, especially Longhorns’ junior left fielder Ben Johnson who reached base four times in a 3-for-4 effort with a walk. Johnson set the tone for his day when he smashed a single to left to open the game.

In the third, the junior gave the Longhorns the lead when he powered a delivery from Stanford’s freshman starter Keith Weisenberg (RHP) over the wall in left for a two-run homer to give Texas a 2-1 lead. Trailing 5-2, Johnson delivered again, depositing another Weisenberg delivery over the left field wall for his third home run of the season, to pull the Longhorns within 5-3 in the fifth.

Yet, the Longhorns’ offense would by stymied the rest of the night, and struggled to score runners in scoring position. In the fourth inning the Longhorns loaded the bases with one out only to suffer back-to-back strikeouts at the hands of Weisenberg to end the threat.

In the sixth, Texas drew three straight, two-out walks to load the bases only to have Stanford sophomore Chris Castellanos (LHP) come on in relief for the lefty-on-lefty matchup and strike out Collin Shaw (Sr., RF) to end that threat scoreless as well.

Then a pair of errors in the eighth put two runners on with one out when junior Logan James (LHP) came on in relief and became the only Cardinal to retire Johnson on the night, inducing him to ground into a fielder’s choice before becoming the next pitcher to strikeout Shaw with runners in scoring position.

CJ Hinojosa (Jr., SS) lead off the ninth sliding a double down the right field line before advancing to third and eventually home on wild pitches as Longhorns’ Tres Barrera (So., C) and Brooks Marlow (Sr., 2B) struck out in back-to-back at bats.

Texas would put together another two-out rally to load the bases by sandwiching a single by Michael Cantu (Fr., 1B) in between a couple of walks earned by pinch hitter Joe Baker (Fr.) and Zane Gurwitz (So., CF). However, Stell’s lineout ended the rally, and the night for the Longhorns.

Cardinal reliever Tyler Thorne (So., RHP) would make his first decision of the year a win, hurling 1.2 innings of hitless ball while walking four Longhorns and striking out two. James earned his third save of the season, hurling 1.2 innings of his own for Stanford.

Two Longhorns’ relievers combined on three perfect innings of work to hold Stanford at bay. Connor Mayes (Fr., RHP) struck out one over 1.2 innings while Ty Culbreath (Jr., LHP) closed out the final 1.1 innings by striking out three of the four batters he faced.

“Actually, I think we have the better team,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido about the loss, “we lost the game because we didn’t take quality at bats with runners in scoring position.”

Game two of the set is scheduled for 9:00 pm est on Friday.

About the Author

Mark West
Mark West grew up playing and loving baseball. In college, he found an interest in writing and reporting on sports. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Radio and Television Broadcasting with a News emphasis and a minor in Political Science. Mark can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MarkWestCBC Mark began writing a few years ago informally about politics and sports on various blogs, but has focused primarily on baseball writing for the last two years. He loves Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball and writes about the games and the players for the Red Wolves and the Sun Belt Conference. Mark is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, giving him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy, Regional Players of the Year, and NCBWA All-America voting. Follow on Twitter @MarkWestCBC